Advanced Math/Science Research Update

by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program

January 15, 2013

Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students.  AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.

The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope.  This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years.  The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus. 

One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14.  Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.

Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!

What We're Doing: Rewriting Hamlet!
Posted 02/11/2014 06:35AM

This month, the entire Sixth form came together for the annual production of Hamlet Night. This year, in preparation, Mr. Howard brought his expertise to bear on a workshop where the students learned the basics of acting Shakespeare and acting in the round. It was a night of doing the wave, learning how to do things 'lovingly' and generally developing students' acting chops and turned out to be time well-spent. 

This year's production was unanimously voted Best. Hamlet. Night. Ever.

See more pictures from the workshop here:

 

Mrs. Bullock explains how Hamlet Night is a stellar means of learning:

Bloom's Taxonomy (designed by renowned educator Benjamin Bloom) is a framework for student learning in order to reach high order thinking.  The Sixth Form study of Hamlet  is a perfect example of how the end project of Hamlet Night, while fun and regarded as a Berkshire rite of passage, actually fosters the highest level of critical thinking.  In Bloom's hierarchy of learning, the traditional reading of Shakespeare's play covers the first step of remembering information--this is the recall of a scene and plot.  The next steps of understanding, applying, and analyzing are where students begin to synthesize the main ideas and themes of the play.  In the final stages of evaluating and creating, students move beyond mastery and understanding and into the much deeper stage of 'owning' the material so that they can then manipulate the ideas in the Elizabethan classic when they take the knowledge they have learned and adapt their themes to a modern-day cultural reference.  While Hamlet Night is not a test or an analytical paper, it is much more--the highest level of critical thinking a student can achieve.

Watch excerpts from Mr. Howard's workshop here:


Watch excerpts from Hamlet Night here:


And the winners are:

Best Scene: Holy Grail
Best Actor Cooper Fersen
Best Actress: Lauren Henman
Best Supporting Male: Will Aldam
Best Supporting Actress:  Michelle Jung


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